The Highwayman

Season 1 Episode 9

Haunted Highway

1
Aired Friday 8:00 PM May 06, 1988 on NBC
8.2
out of 10
User Rating
6 votes
1

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

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Haunted Highway
AIRED:
There's said to be a curse of fire and ice in an old gold mine, that ghostly Indians slaughter those who disrespect the land. Now, Jake Redstone is accused of killing a miner, but what is actually being mined there? Why are the guards armed with machine guns? And why can't the miner's body be found?moreless

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Highway and Jetto investigate when an American Indian is accused of murdering a miner, and uncover some mysterious going-ons surrounding the nearby mine - and a possible ancient curse of "fire and ice". Great last episode to a sadly short lived series...moreless

    9.5
    This review contains spoilers.



    "Haunted Highway" was originally due to air earlier in the run, between the episodes "Till Death Duel Us Part" and "Summer of 45", but was postponed, eventually being broadcast on 6th May 1988, making it the last first-run episode of the series to be broadcast in the US before the show was cancelled.



    Either way, it is a really enjoyable episode. I love the reservation setting; the show, from the Pilot and the regular series' opening credits, hinted at a lot of desert setting (being filmed in Arizona), but many episodes didn't really capitalise on this. Well, there's a LOT of it in this one, so that's a plus for me for a start.



    The plot itself is also really interesting, concerning the mysterious happenings at a local mine, and rumours of a possible "curse". It turns out that much of the mysterious happenings are actually due to the mine, supposedly digging for gold, actually to be mining for radioactive materials, which a crooked businessman has capitalised on.



    It was fun to see Marla Heasley, who played Tawnia Baker in the latter second season of 'The A-Team', appearing as Liz Redstone (though I never understood if the character was supposed to be Native American or not). In fact, much of the guest cast has 'A-Team' connections (from guest starring in that series); being an 'A-Team' nerd (see profile), I loved picking these out!



    As I say, I really like the storyline, though did find certain details of it to be slightly blurry in places, and by the end did leave one or two unanswered questions (though maybe this was what the writers were going for?).

    The only part of the episode that doesn't really work for me is Highway's ghostly dream sequence (after drinking a mixture from a Native Elder); I didn't mind it as being part the plot, and starts off quite intriguing but I found it to be far too long and unclear. The final explanations are fun though, almost feeling like a more mature version of a 'Scooby Doo' episode!



    I didn't have a surviving recording of this from when the series was shown on ITV regions here in the U.K.; when I finally got a private set of episodes from an American collector, this episode was very blurry quality and sound somewhat muffled, which stopped me from really enjoying it. (It was also interrupted at one point by on-screen captions and alert noises for Hurricane Florence!). I later got a more watchable copy (though still with Hurricane warning), and watching it today to review, I think this may actually now be one of my favourite episodes from the show's short run. (BTW, I'm not complaining about the Hurricane warnings of course, people's safety comes first; I just mean that it's a shame the series has never been repeated or officially released on DVD so we can enjoy the story uninterrupted).



    All-in-all, this is a really enjoyable episode, and a(nother) example of what the show could have been capable of if it had been allowed to continue for longer. It has a really likeable plot, some terrific action sequences, and – although not shown in its originally intended position – makes for a nice final hurrah for the series. The over-long dream hallucination sequence and slightly unclear plot in places nudges my rating down from a perfect 10, but I still give "Haunted Highway" a very strong 9.5.



    ---Series review---



    Well, I've said it in just about each review I've done for the series, but it is such a shame that this series was criminally short-lived, as I loved each episode, and think the show could have gone on to even bigger and better things had it been allowed to continue.



    After the 1987 Pilot film (a.k.a. "Terror on the Blacktop"), the concept was heavily reworked for the series. Some liked this, some didn't; personally, I prefer the regular series incarnation better (though some episodes, such as "Dawn through the Night" on Highway's radio in the Pilot, were interesting), and as I've said on some of my previous episode reviews, some of the episodes almost feel like a more action-orientated pre-'X-Files' fare.



    Although we never really meet Ms. Winthrop or D.C. Montana in any great depth, all four of the main characters feel to have mileage. Both my father (who discovered the series) and my own favourite character of the series by far is Jetto. Seemingly put in as a result of the Australian boom in the late 1980s (resulting from '"Crocodile" Dundee' et al), I feel that some American viewers didn't take to him, but as a Brit, a nation whose humour is arguably closer to Australians, I totally love the character. In fact, Jetto would have to be amongst my very favourite characters from any of the many wonderful action-adventure shows we were treated to during the 1980s.



    My favourite episode, for sheer scope of plot (as well as personal nostalgic reasons – see my review of that episode for more) is definitely "Summer of 45". This is the one single episode that just about anyone who saw the show will remember, and, despite slightly limited finale probably due to budget, just has such a great feel to it.

    Second place would probably have to be "Send in the Clones", another terrific adventure (rumoured to be a back-door Pilot for a spin-off series), again a very strong entry.



    The third place in my personal 'Top 3' I can't decide on; I like many elements from both "Road Lord" and the above episode, "Haunted Highway". "Warzone" was also very good.



    Only a couple of episodes, "Billionaire Body Club" and maybe "The Hitchhiker", did feel to be not quite on form, but it is interesting to note that these were the first regular episodes to be produced, so can very much excused for the show "finding it's footing", and even so, they are perfectly decent stories in themselves.



    One can only wonder why such a show wasn't allowed to flourish further before the axe fell; certainly, tweaks could have been made, but I feel the show had so much further potential. As I understand it, the show wasn't a disaster, but the high production costs (vehicles, stunts, explosions, futuristic gadgets, etc.) couldn't justify the lower than wanted viewing figures. It did also mark the end of an era, when (to quote myself from Wikipedia) the comic-book action-adventure shows of the 1980s started drifting into the more series, PC-driven offerings of the 1990s.



    Either way, I for one feel lucky that I know of this brief, little-known gem. We can only hope that it gets some kind of official DVD release one day soon. Thanks for reading.moreless
Marla Heasley

Marla Heasley

Liz Redstone

Guest Star

Roger Gibson

Roger Gibson

Jake Redstone

Guest Star

Michael Horse

Michael Horse

Jerry New Eagle

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (12)

    • Narrator: Long before the arrival of the white man, the Americas were inhabited by ancient tribes, some of whom believed in the existence of a fourth dimension. A parallel world where the dead continued to watch over the living and could be called upon for their wisdom. It was even believed by some that in times of extreme danger, the holy ones could bring forth their swords and destroy the enemies of their people.

    • Highwayman: Was I supposed to take you seriously? You start talking about a group of Indians that attacked a gold mine operation in the superstitious mountains, then suddenly we're talking about legends and warriors from some other world.
      Tania: Highway, an Indian boy is being tried for murder and they haven't even found the body.
      Highwayman: Maybe they hid it in that other dimension?

    • Jetto: I think this little bird here doesn't like to fly.
      New Eagle: I've never been much of a flyer.
      Jetto: Maybe you outta consider changing your name, like maybe Walking Eagle or something.

    • Highwayman: I want to check out that mine. Guards with sub-machine-guns stir my natural curiosity.
      Jetto: My thoughts exactly.

    • Jake: Who are you guys?
      Jetto: We're the stuff that dreams are made of.

    • Jetto: (about the models) Look at all the little chickies, all in the row.
      Highwayman: Now, Jetto, you behave yourself.
      Jetto: Okay, but it'll be out of character!

    • Liz: You gonna carry me off too?
      Jetto: You were my first choice!

    • Liz: I'll make you a deal. You let me borrow the animal (gestures to Jetto) and I'll give you five minutes.
      Jetto: My only personal curse, the women just won't leave me alone!

    • Highwayman: You can't hide from the truth.
      Liz: Whose truth?
      Highwayman: There's only one.
      Liz: You sound like my grandfather, his ideas are outdated too.

    • Montana: (appearing suddenly in the truck) Hey, guys.
      Jetto: D.C, my little friend. You do that again, I'm gonna have to kill you.

    • Chief: The white man plays with our legends. It has torn the fabric of the earth, brought evil back to our land.
      Highwayman: And you think the holies are responsible for killing Don Burcher and Neil Snyder?
      Chief: No. The holies do not come to kill, they come to protect. The miners toy with the curse, but they do not understand the price they will pay, as they did 100 years ago.

    • Liz: I know we got started off on the wrong foot. But do you think that under other circumstances that we might have....What I'm trying to say is, what if....
      Highwayman: What if? Yeah, sometimes it's better to leave the 'what ifs' alone.

  • NOTES (1)

    • This episode was originally due to air between "Till Death Duel Us Part" and "Summer of 45", but was postponed until later. It was eventually shown on May 6, 1988, making it the last first-run episode of the series to be broadcast.

  • ALLUSIONS (1)

    • Montana: I thought I'd drop by and see how the ghostbusters were doing.
      Ghostbusters (1984) is a hugely popular and iconic American comedy film about three eccentric ghost exterminators, starring Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Ernie Hudson, and Sigourney Weaver. It's success inspired a sequel and a cartoon series, The Real Ghostbusters.

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